Can the Ubuntu Edge kickstart a mobile tech revolution?

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Earlier this year, Canonical’s unveiling of their concept mobile operating system, Ubuntu for Phones, which also doubles as a full Desktop OS when the phone is docked into an appropriate display adapter – stirred some excitement in the mobile tech world. That initial excitement has since worn off. The operating system is still in it’s beta testing stage. Support is restricted to select high-end devices, and installation is a feat reserved only for the brave of heart.

Well, Canonical are at it again. This time they have decided to build the ideal phone that will run their Ubuntu Phone OS. Allow me the pleasure of introducing to you; the Ubuntu Edge.

Ubuntu Edge

Some points of interest:

Ubuntu Edge will not be for sale

Canonical assure us that they’re not out to compete with other phone manufacturers. Their idea is to play the role of the premium consumer-testing platform that will become the driving force for newer technology adoption in the mass market.

Your help needed

As they don’t have access to excess funds like the ‘big boys’,  Canonical have decided to enlist your help via International Crowd-funding site, Indiegogo. They need to raise at least $32 million by August 21 or they get no funding.

You belong

You are offered a stake in Ubuntu Edge, ranging from Founder-membership ($20/50) to exclusive ownership ($775 up) of the actual device on launch (+ $30 for shipping outside the US and UK).

Unprecedented

The proposed specs are out of this world: 4GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, Sapphire Glass screen (supposedly, can only be scratched by a diamond), (hopefully) 8-core processor chip, and silicon-anode Li-ion battery, whatever that is.

Convergence

Convergence is the latest buzz-word in the mobile tech industry. What it means basically is that the Ubuntu Edge will be the first phone built specifically to dual-boot both a mobile (Android) and full, no-holds-barred Desktop (Ubuntu for Android) OS.

Revolution Anyone?

I am excited at the prospect of doing all my core computing with just my phone and a monitor when needed, nothing else. I will not have to experience the headache of forgetting to synchronize my files between devices all the time. And as a self-appointed prophet for Android, I also love the fact that the Ubuntu Edge will run on Android.

In fact, if I had $775 (+$30 for international shipping) to spare right now, I would gladly book myself an Ubuntu Edge. For now, I’ll settle for founder-membership.

The question remains, will Canonical be able to pull this off? Not just the funding target, but also the actual implementation of the design? I guess the enthusiasts should leave the latter part to Canonical and take the leap by donating to the campaign.  As at the last time I checked the Indiegogo campaign page, they’ve managed to garner only a little above $8 million, which is quite discouraging if you ask me. It appears there are not enough Android fans out there who are also Ubuntu enthusiasts, are not excited enough or they just haven’t heard about Ubuntu Edge. But hey, it’s still just 16 days to go out of 30, anything could happen.

I should probably point out that regardless of whatever amount you pledge, if Canonical do not meet their target of $32 million by August 21, 2013, not a single dollar of the monies pledged will go to them; your account will not be charged.

The Ubuntu Edge is proposed to launch in May of 2014, just in time for the official release of Ubuntu for Phones. You can find out more about the campaign by watching the video below.

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6 comments

  1. Phone is Phone and laptop is laptop, this will die a natural death period. They should learn from experience of windows8 which is a software version of this ubuntu harware device. Windows thought they could win masses but you can all see their sale figures, if it were not Nokia it would have been dead already. Consumers like mobile devices and anyone trying to change that core will be a looser.

  2. As a super Ubuntu fan, I have been excited about this campaign and the whole Ubuntu phone progress for a while now. Ubuntu’s convergence is much different from that of windows 8. They are not working on a single UI for all form factors. Instead, they are working on a UI with similar elements and design language but being adapted to the different screen sizes from TV, through to PC and tablet down to phone.
    I hope this campaign succeeds and if i had any money, i will send it their way. Even if it doesn’t succeed, I still have hope for an Ubuntu phone to be launched by an OEM in the near future. That might not be powerful enough to have convergence though.

  3. @solex, just as Muyiscol has rightly pointed out, Ubuntu’s take on mobile convergence is very different from that of Windows 8. Also, remember that the Ubunutu Edge will not be for sale, so they’re not out to compete with the other OEMs, or overtake them. Rather they are offering to become the premium testing platform from which other OEMs can borrow for the future

  4. I just like the idea of convergence and yeah, I believe the path Canonical is taking with Ubuntu Edge is quite different from what Microsoft tried with Windows 8, quite different.

    I hope it succeeds too so that other OEMs could borrow the idea for feature convergence phones. The specs of such a device really needs to be high enough to handle the Ubuntu desktop operating system otherwise it will give users a bad experience that will work against the project and possibly future endeavours even by other OEMs.

    But finally, if it fails then we will continue to make do with what Android offers since it is very close to what a full desktop PC will offer but the big advantage with Ubuntu is that there are many desktop application that’s fully optimized for full desktop computing without any compromise waiting that would be immediately useful of the Ubuntu Edge device.

  5. I have been waiting for this phone for two years now. When the Motorola Asterix was produced I saw its potential but deemed the time not to be ripe yet. With the Ubuntu edge and the envisioned specifications, Convergence is for the first time really possible.
    Its not only interesting to have such a powerful phone with both Ubuntu and Android, but the idea of having a phone that when connected to a television and coupled with a small portable keyboard can function as a full desktop that gets me really excited. Who doesn’t like to have a computer in his pocket?
    There are however also other interesting options for convergence, I actually like Microsoft’s attempt to combine a tablet and a pc with their Surface RT/Pro which are both beautiful pieces of hardware. The ultimate conversion option would be to make a phone that can be inserted in you tablet, which can be docked to a keyboard, giving the full convergence experience. I do not believe in a future with one device like Mark Shuttleworth, I do believe in a future with a minimum number of devices which are connected to a single processing hub for daily life (like you Ubuntu edge), which can be connected to a home desktop or online bought processing unit for added processing power.
    For the time being I happily settle for an Ubuntu Edge phone as one step closer to this future and an awesomely powerful and under priced super phone.

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